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Sam Michael under threat after Williams' poor start?

Sam Michael is rumoured to be facing the axe as a result of Williams poor showings in Melbourne and Sepang.

The F1 rumour mill is already surrounding its first potential victim of 2011, with technical director Sam Michael being cited as a scapegoat for the Williams team's poor start to the season.

Despite some promising test performances, notably from Rubens Barrichello, the radical FW33 failed to fire in the races in Australia and Malaysia, leaving Williams on zero points alongside expected backmarkers Team Lotus, Virgin and HRT. Neither Barrichello or rookie Pastor Maldonado has seen the chequered flag in 2011, and motorsport-total.com speculates that this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix could be a watershed for Australian-born Michael, who has headed up the technical team since taking over from Patrick Head in 2004.

With new chairman Adam Parr confirming that there will be moves to address failings within the company, which recently floated on the German stockmarket, the report suggests that shareholder Christian Wolff will be in Shanghai to cast an eye over operations with a view to helping shape the changes.

"We will be looking not only at how to address the short-term issues, we will be working together to strengthen the team for 2012 and beyond," Parr announced, "Every aspect will be reviewed, nothing is sacred, but we will do this methodically and not in a reactive way."

Williams has twice finished fourth in the F1 constructors' championship since the start of 2004, but recent seasons have seen it trying to claw its way back among the sport's elite teams, finishing eighth, seventh and sixth in the past three years.

The 2011 car is probably the most radical on the grid, with an ultra-low rear end facilitated by a tiny gearbox among the eye-catching features, but transmission woes accounted for both entries in Australia, and further mechanical problems struck in Malaysia, with hydraulics and a misfire sidelining Barrichello and Maldonado respectively.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
15.04.2011- Friday Practice 1, Rubens Barrichello (BRA), Williams FW33 , LEGAL NOTICE: THIS PICTURE IS NOT FOR CHINA
10.04.2011- Race, Pastor Maldonado (VEN), Williams FW33
09.04.2011- Saturday Practice, Rubens Barrichello (BRA), Williams FW33
Sam Michael. Williams FW33 livery launch [Pic credit: Williams]
Race, Sam Michael (AUS) Williams Technical Director
Williams, FW40, teaser shot [Credit: Williams Martini Racing]
Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher and the 1996 Ferrari F310
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 with Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38

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April 15, 2011 5:08 PM

Williams needs some new blood. Granted PH is a legend, but as director of engineering, I'm not sure if he's really cutting it on the design anymore. Williams seems to become that team where either you goto retire, or jump your way into F1...kinda like what Jordan use to be.

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